When Stress Strikes

May is the month where all the work that has been done in the university year is put into its final details and it is submitted. It is when students are taking over the university in high numbers and the library becomes as noisy as the refectory. In times like this one, it is almost impossible to remember how to avoid stress issues and how to be organised when your mind is pulling information from all the academic year in order to decide how the final paper will look like.

I have been going through a complicated moment due to personal concerns and university decisions. I am on my way to change my course from Criminal Psychology to Criminology and Sociology, this is my first year and the expectation of submitting successful work is not that high but still exists as its feedback will be essential for my personal growth in the course, and I have been attempting to build a proud cv since I first stood my feet in this university. Consequently, I am stressed.

When I added my personal concerns to these other ones that already existed, the thought I would not make until the place I planned to achieve tortured my self-confidence for a while. Life can be cruel more often that we would like to be reminded of. I did allow myself to suffer a little because we all need to express our pain one way or another, and after I have had enough I had to force myself to leave that spectrum of despair. I have some consequences of those moments following me now, but they will either pass, or I will soon learn to live with them.

However, I write this as a reminder to myself and as an advice to whoever reads it. Although it is obvious, there are moments that I question everything around me, from friends to career choice to what I will eat tonight. Sometimes I think these questions become more frequent as time goes by, and a friend has already told me that experiences will always make us have more questions to be asked than answers to decipher. Therefore, the best to do is to keep evolving, adapting to what you find best to and improving yourself as an individual.

Hope you had a happy Easter

It’s spring already here, but I think someone above the clouds keeps forgetting so. Two weeks ago was extremely hot, and the sun could blind whoever look straight to it. Now, however, I hear my friends joking about ‘four seasons in a day’, as the sun is out but is not hot.

For Easter, the weather was good, refreshing. I spent a week in London to visit my uncle, seeking a familiar company. Many of my friends had their parents or friends visiting, especially considering the two weeks holiday we were given. For me, and for my classmates as well, these two weeks were a relief. It is the end of April now and we have three exams to be done in the exams week in May, plus another assignment in the same month. Although I have not touched a university book, it is good to have some time to organise my thoughts and avoid panicking.

To those who feel interested in seeing how Easter is for the English, there were some Easter celebrations happening around, either in Cheltenham or London. Mostly they were turned to children, but I have seen some for youngsters and adults as well. Easter, for instance, is a perfect excuse to organise a chocolate market. Also, there are local families around Cheltenham that invite students to join small celebrations, where there is food, like the typical hot cross bun, and conversations about related themes. I have joined a Hong Kong family in one of these meetings to celebrate the holiday, and it was a fantastic day!

barbara easter

Although is a little difficult to contain the homesickness, it is good to seek another perspective for the holiday. However, I know it is easier said than done, and that may be the reason why I have called my mum on FaceTime about three times in a week already. Fortunately, the university and my friends always make sure to occupy my mind, and now I also have beautiful, and hot as hell, sunny days to look forward to.

Barbara

Romeo + Juliet

I have always had a curiosity about Romeo and Juliet, as I was never able to fully understand how so many things could go wrong at once. When I went to the opera of the play, I had decided to go with an open mind to see if I would be able to finally catch a missing piece of the story.

The opera was part of the Metropolitan Opera 2016/17 season in the Cineworld cinema in Cheltenham. I was fascinated by how passionate the couple, Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo, chosen to play the protagonists seem to be. In the middle of that tragic story, I started to question myself that same frustrated question about how that all happened.

I then realised that maybe the question is so simple that not everyone thought of asking it. What if Shakespeare intended, not only to demonstrate how love can burn our souls but, to criticise the power of the church? With that said, allow me to create a theory:

Romeo and Juliet was written in the year of 1595-6 in Verona, Italy. At the time, the church was the most powerful institution, although the families Montague and Capulet are shown to be more influential.

As a Friar, it does not seem right to lie to the families to help a juvenile love, especially when Juliet is promised to marry another. It could easily start a war between the two families, or create a distress between the Capulets and the church.

However, he does that anyways. He tells Juliet that he and Romeo will be waiting for her to wake up so they can be together. He never did, although he could have told Romeo easily.

Romeo and Juliet were the only main heirs of the two richest families, and after Juliet’s cousin death, there was no other person to have access to the popular surname or their inheritance. As a matter of fact, the church could take the families’ possessions when they pass away.

If Romeo and Juliet had achieved permission to love each other, their son would become a powerful man, and eventually a possible threat to the religious institution.

At first, when I came with this theory, I did not want to believe it was a possibility as It is difficult to find a villain when all characters’ intentions seem so clear, and the only question is why life is unfair. However, Shakespeare has a subtle way to create questions and give us the illusion of understanding his stories. It may be one of the reasons why his writings are still fascinating.

Lights and Wishes

After a whole year away from home, I am in Brazil enjoying my time with my family and friends. It’s always beautiful to see how Christmas can make people’s thoughts and feelings more transparent and sensible. Although Brazil’s situation is declining, Christmas time can be a therapy for those who have been facing difficult moments in this political-economical crisis.

One of my favourite aspects of Christmas is the decoration that enlights the street in the darkness of the night. The urge to buy and organise the presents, cards and speeches, full of memories that warm our hearts and stamp a smile in our faces, especially when shared on the family table.

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Lights in Sao Paulo

This event of the year reminds us of ours strengths and weaknesses, preparing us for the wishes and resolutions we will bring up, sometimes from the bottom of our hearts, at the turn of the year. Although many won’t become true, the desire to persuade this lists can be enough. The main objective should be to try to make 2017 better than 2016, as year after year.

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Interactive Shopping Mall

Barbara

Reflections at lunch time

At the beginning of the month, I was comparing the main differences between Brazil and England, with a friend of mine. Later that same day, I realised how intriguing it is to analyse the cultural differences between here and any other country. For example, I’ve been here in the UK for approximately two years and it was the first country abroad that I’d ever been to, so I always had a limited mind-set due to my lack of experience. Everything I knew about the UK was from people’s view or facts.

As soon as I arrived here I had the opportunity to develop my critical thinking. I became deeply interested in politics, history and philosophy, which allowed me to have a bigger picture of why the world is how it is. Consequently, I became more critical of every aspect of life, since one subject connects to the other. Although I do not know everything, I am more willing to learn and to discuss.

Recognition and critique were also the actions that created the well-developed country that the UK is today.  People in modern society often forget to be glad for the positive aspects of living where they do. For example, England is considered one of the safest places to live and it has great public transport availability, however the people still sometimes complain about the facilities.

I believe one of the most powerful weapons a person can possess is critical thinking. People, especially the youth, like me, need to be able to analyse and judge the information they are been exposed to, so better life decisions can be made.